I want to share a quote from President Monson. This was in the first presidency message from the June 1997 Ensign entitled “The Spirit Giveth Life” (coincidentally the same month and year that I was born in, I just realized). President Monson is describing a visit he made to the main Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah:
“I am told that on occasion when a missionary in training feels that the Spanish he is called upon to master appears overwhelming or just too hard to learn, he is placed during the luncheon break next to missionaries studying the complex languages of the Orient. He listens. Suddenly Spanish becomes not too overpowering, and he eagerly returns to his study.”
Well, let me just say that his observation is very correct haha, and let me just give a shoutout to my friends serving in Taiwan and Russia right now. Seeing their faith and hearing about their efforts makes me realize that I really have no right to complain or worry.
President Monson continues:
“There is one language, however, that is common to each missionary—the language of the Spirit. It is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and keep His divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart.”
There have been many mini miracles while I’ve been here, I think, that have shown to me the truthfulness of this profound promise. If I couldn’t use the power of the spirit in the work here and just had to rely on my own abilities, I’m sure I would have given up by this point. The fact of the matter is that the work here is hard and often discouraging; I don’t think that I could count all of the rejections and let downs that we endured this week alone. Not to mention that there’s so many weaknesses I have yet to overcome as well. However, these things are starting to matter less and less to me as I trust more and more in an outside source of power rather than myself. On Tuesday, I passed my 100 day mark of being a missionary. In these past months of training, perhaps that is the most important thing which I have learned.
Trying to keep a sense of humor when we face discouraging situations always helps too. I was teaching a lesson this week and kept forgetting ‘olvidar,’ the verb ‘to forget.’ It was a bit frustrating because it was a word I thought I had already committed to memory, but regardless, I had a good laugh at the irony of the situation when I kept having to ask again and again what the word was because I kept forgetting it haha. I remember it now though, so all is well.
Élder Stark 🇪🇸
1: On the roof of this giant, ancient cathedral in Elche. Myself, Elder Pesce, and Elder Fumero.
2: The exterior. I believe that this building dates back to the 1600’s.
3: Elder Goates, Elder Darrington, Elder Fumero, Elder Llavina, Hermana Matsu, Hermana Giraldo, Elder Stark; Elder Pesce, Alejendra, Hermana Gibson, Hermana Højholdt, Hermana Moore, Jessica
4: All of the missionaries in the Elche area, minus Hermana Butler and Hermana Prior.
5: I’m not going to list all of the names again
6: Diego, Elder Pesce and I riding in a bus.
7: Until next time